Hello and welcome to my first ever blog!
Hello and welcome to my first ever blog!
It’s taken me a little while to get here but I thought it was a good time to share my story of my journey into health. Thankfully I’m now a healthy, happy natural health practitioner, and Chrysalis Effect wellbeing coach, and soon to be specialist. I wish I’d known about the Chrysalis Effect earlier, but I’m grateful to be able to share with you the amazing work they do, along with their team of specialists to help people recover from ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia. The Chrysalis Effect pinpoint 6 key phases to recovery and I’ll be highlighting these as I take you through my journey to health and happiness.
I hope you find this information of interest, more importantly if it can help you regain your health that would be fantastic! If you have any questions I would love to her from you.
I always thought I was pretty healthy, I’d been a vegetarian since the age of 12, always been into exercise and drank lots of water! So why did I have all these gut problems? How easy it is to kid oneself! I failed to recognise that smoking and drinking was detrimental to my health. I’d smoked from the age of 13 and drank quite a bit throughout my college years, not constantly, I wasn’t an alcoholic or anything, but I did like a good drink, but then who doesn’t. I think looking back it was probably when I moved away to study that my alcohol intake stepped up a gear. I recall visiting the local off license to buy a bottle of wine most nights and thought nothing of it. I should also probably mention that I suffered with anorexia and bulimia from the age of 12, not many people know this. It took a long time to be able to talk opening about my illness, which thankfully doesn’t plague me any more.
My health took a turn for the worst when I reached 28. On reflection I’d been under a huge amount of stress both mentally and emotionally. I’d ignored the signs Phase 1 (denial) of the Recovery Process and kept pushing myself. I’d work long hours and then have gruelling gym sessions to alleviate the stress. Sometimes I’d get to the gym and feel really shaky and jittery but just kept pushing, annoyed that my body wasn’t performing as I wanted it to. I was a bit of a gym-o-holic, I’d joined a gym at age 14 and was hooked on the adrenaline buzz.
When I collapsed with exhaustion Phase 2 (crash) of the Recovery Process I also discovered via a homeopathic doctor that I had a systemic candida infection. My whole body seemed to be shutting down, every day was a huge effort, the fatigue and brain fog were constant, I lost so much weight, my hair started falling out, my asthma, which up until then had only been mild with the occasional attack, was now completely out of control. I’d been admitted to hospital twice with severe asthma attacks. I was under a lung function specialist at Wynthenshawe hospital for 2 years on the highest dose of Seratide four times a day. I suffered with hives, just one little scratch and my skin would swell up red and swollen, my whole body ached. I finally took action, the first thing to go was ‘sugar’ I hadn’t realised what a complete sugar monster I was. Literally everything in my fridge seemed to contain huge amounts of sugar, those probiotic drinks and yoghurt’s, pure evil, not to mention the daily sweets I couldn’t seem to live without, and em the wine!
So my new eating regime was based on wholefoods, vegetables, salad, eggs, lentils and beans, I really had a limited diet, and not one I really enjoyed. I seemed to react to everything. Knowing what I know now, it’s easy to see. I’d damaged my gut with all the sugar I was consuming, causing huge amounts of inflammation. And added to it with all the stress I was under at work, and emotional stress outside of work also. Prior to my diagnosis I’d been getting repeated water infections which needed repeated courses of anti-biotics. The latter alongside the sugar was just too much for my poor undernourished body to cope with. And hence the candida took a hold. I’d struggled with my immunity from a young age, with repeated chest infections. On several occasions I was briefly hospitalised to get my asthma under control.
I’d been in Phase 1 (denial) of the Recovery Process for a long time, once my illness took hold I looked externally Phase 3 (external search) of the Recovery Process, for anything that could help me feel better and quickly. I was having colonic hydrotherapy, reflexology and accupuncture. The combination seemed to be helping, I was feeling more like I was in the land of the living, but I still wasn’t right. I can recall being in meetings and feeling so stressed out because I literally couldn’t take anything in. I felt like I had mush for brains. My headaches were increasing in severity and no medication would help. I’d drive home, god knows how sometimes, with my arms slumped over the steering wheel. For a long time, in fact, until I enrolled with the Chryslis Effect I thought my symptoms were all part and parcel of a severe candida infection. Little did I know that I was effectively driving my symptoms, because I would not stop. I felt I couldn’t stop. My job was too demanding, I was the only one at work who could do my job. I didn’t have time to be ill. So I practitioner hopped trying to get my health back, but no-one seemed to be able to help. Perhaps if I’d stayed with one practitioner for long enough I might have seen some improvements, but when we’re struggling so badly with our health, we want it fixed and quickly.
So eventually, I had to make some important decisions, the first one was to quit my stressful job, this is Phase 4 of the recovery process, do what it takes! so as I could focus on my health. This was a major turning point. The relief I felt when I handed in my notice. I had nothing lined up, and was the main bread winner, but I just knew I had to leave, otherwise my health was really going to suffer. So, what now! I took 6 months out to focus on what I wanted to do. I initially searched for a new job, but they all filled me with dread. This was the starting point of me actually listen to my body. It was giving me signs, signs I’d ignored for such a long time. But now I was ready to listen. So I followed my heart and starting researching those things I’m truly passionate about, nutrition and psychology. I enrolled with The College of Natural Medicine in Manchester in 2010 and I’ve never looked back. I set up a clinic within David Lloyds Health and Leisure Centre in Cheadle, where I rented a room offering colonic hydrotherapy part-time whilst studying nutrition therapy. I couldn’t have been happier. Everything was falling into place. I felt for the first time in my adult life that I was doing something I was meant to do. Helping others regain their health just like I had. Phase 6 of the Recovery Process. I’d had years of bowel issues, mainly constipation and bloating, poor digestion, food intolerance, severe candida infection, bouts of exhaustion which had never been helped by the medical profession. And now I’d found ways of alleviating my symptoms and wanted to share these with others. Inner Health Clinic was born.
Now as a Nutritional Therapist I have a much broader diet and enjoy creating super healthy but delicious meals, juices, smoothies and treats. Being healthy doesn’t have to be boring! It’s taken a long time to kick old habits and re-balance my body, but in a way I’m glad about that. Its been a journey and one I’ve learnt so much from. The way I look at it now, If I hadn’t been so poorly I wouldn’t be in the position to help others the way I can. I wouldn’t have that level of empathy, and I’m sure I wouldn’t have developed all the skills I have today which are needed when I have complex cases to deal with.
Deciding to train as a wellbeing coach has been fundamental to my learning and development within the field of chronic exhaustive conditions. I decided to specialise in this area, as I was seeing a lot of clients who were suffering with chronic fatigue and unrelenting pain and I wanted to understand more about the progression and recovery process. Food isn’t the answer to everything, there’s a lot of psychological stuff that goes on. Sure getting someone on a healthy diet will help to some degree, as well as supporting their thyroid and adrenals with supplements. However helping them to see which areas of their life are affectively driving their fatigue is where the real magic happens, and how people actually recover. When like me they take drastic steps to turn their lives around. Maybe that’s leaving a stressful job, or toxic relationship. Coaching helps support people through these steps and more until they’ve completely regained their health. And that’s why I’m so thrilled to be a Chrysalis Effect Practitioner.